Monday, 17 January 2022

TBNT Book Challenge 2022

Earlier this month, I have mentioned that I will slow down on my reading in order to allow a more relaxing year with more time for other hobbies such as to craft, garden or even colour. 

In view of this, I have lowered my Goodreads reading challenge from 36 books last year (to which I didn't complete) to 13 books for this year. Why 13? Well, this is to accommodate TBNT Book Challenge which has13 challenges. Aside from this, I am also going for Litsy's Book Spin Bingo which can be used concurrently with TBNT Book Challenge so no extra pressure here. I've thought of joining again some KLBAC book discussions but that will probably be after Chinese New Year. There are quite a few based on various genres so depending on my schedule, if it's too tight then I'll forgo it. 

Anyway, I'm sharing TBNT Book Challenge here, in case any of you readers are interested to participate.
Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, 16 January 2022

[MPOV] A Gift from Bob (Bob the Cat #3) by James Bowen

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.22/5
Published: 1/1/2014
Author: James Bowen
Genre: Memoir

December's Book Challenge:
1. TBNT Book Challenge: A book that has been adapted for the screen OR a screenplay / theatrical play

I've had this book in my TBR pile like for aeons so I'm glad to finally reading it! Unfortunately, Bob has also recently passed away so it is only apt that I read it now.
Street Cat Bob and James, stars of bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob that touched millions around the world, spend a cold and challenging December on the streets together in a new adventure. From the day James rescued a street cat abandoned in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, they began a friendship which has transformed both their lives and, through the bestselling books A STREET CAT NAMED BOB and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BOB, touched millions around the world. In this new story of their journey together, James looks back at the last Christmas they spent scraping a living on the streets and how Bob helped him through one of his toughest times - providing strength, friendship and inspiration but also teaching him important lessons about the true meaning of Christmas along the way.
I’ve enjoyed James journey with Bob in this lovely memoir. It’s sincere and truthful, capturing the essence of their friendship wholeheartedly! Now I did wished I have read it earlier but then everything happens for a reason, right?! 

Anyway, this book is so endearingly honest and an easy read to boot. Aside from Bob, James has also shared his gratitude to his customers and friends who have supported him through it all from the moment he was clean, no judgement, just caring people. It is so nice to know that there are still so many nice people on Earth! This has definitely been an eye-opening read for me especially from the point of view of someone who was homeless before. 

Thank you, Bob, for saving James.
Thank you, James, for this lovely memoir.
Now to look for the rest of the books!

Saturday, 15 January 2022

[MPOV] Auntie Lee's Deadly Specials (Singaporean Mystery #2) by Ovidia Yu

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.71/5
Published: 30/9/2014
Author: Ovidia Yu
Genre: Mystery fiction, cozy mystery

This is my pick for November's Book Challenge:
TBNT Book Challenge: A book with a picture of food on the cover OR food in the title
Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation involving prominent citizens makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung at their opulent house.

Rumor has it that the Sung’s fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sung’s house, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is a storage house she discovers locked? What is the couple arguing about behind closed doors? Where is the guest of honor who never showed up?
Note: I am way behind my review postings so do anticipate a few bursts this week while I'm catching up.

I have enjoyed the first book, Auntie Lee's Delights (you can read my review here) so when this book challenge came up, I immediately thought of this book which was gifted by Ai Jou! Thankfully as I do not have another book to match that challenge, unless it's a cookbook LOL!!!

Book 2 seemed a little off, kinda long winded and wasn't as engaging for me. I'm not sure if it's due to my reading slump then whilst forcing myself to finish the challenge or I honestly find it quite repetitive for the first half of the book! Referencing back to the first book is fine but repeatedly or harping on the same points again and again was quite off-putting for me.

As the story progresses to the actual plots, then only I started to enjoy it somewhat. As usual, it reminded me of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple but in an Asian context LOL! The plots were more entertaining than the first book though which is a plus here. If you are looking for an Asian detective story, you can give Ovidia Yu's Singaporean Mystery series a try. 

You can check out the official website here:

Friday, 14 January 2022

[MPOV] The Finest Lies

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.48/5
Published: October 14th, 2021
Author: David J. Naiman
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.

Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle the riddle of her life.

This suspenseful, yet winsome novel by award-winning author David J. Naiman explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.
I have received this e-ARC from the author in return for my honest review. I had bouts of bad reading slumps due to the previous lockdown and I've tried switching to other genres but it didn't work. My Kobo had also turned on me and suddenly died!!! When I finally got it up and running, I realized all my existing e-books were gone! So I had to hunt and redownload it all again! Gosh so much drama lah! Anyway, finally I was able to finish reading this e-ARC and a thousand apologies to the author for the much delayed review.

The story delved into the most common sibling rivalry's question... ''would you trade your sibling for a better one?'' It's mostly on the sister's point of view. I liked the many moments of eye-opening experiences of the said sister, awareness on the treatment given to the sibling or close friends. With all this, she has finally seen what she has become to and was given the chance to repent. The ending may be the expected one but it is the journey that brings the story up. The author has put in quite an effort to create this unusual set-up yet engaging story.

This is a Young Adult novel with a strong message about family, especially sibling rivalry and shallow minds. It truly is a refreshing read for me with the way the story span and I loved a good ending. All in all, it was an entertaining read for me.
Here's an excerpt from the novel, you can check it out...

Friday, 7 January 2022

Happy New Year! An update for year 2022.

It's been awhile since I last posted anything here! I've been busy with work, life and family that I didn't have much time to read or craft. Even though I've read a few to finish off TBNT Book Challenge, I didn't have the time nor thoughts to review it here! So now that I am back from my long hiatus, I'll try to complete my long outstanding blogs and post it soonest! 

Just a quick update for year 2022 which I have given it lots of thoughts. I have decided that I will move this blog from Blogspot to Wordpress and do away with my domain name. This will take effect in the middle of the year. As such, by mid 2022, you should view from https://sholee.wordpress.com and www.sholee.net will cease to exists by then. Why the drastic measure? Well, domain name is something nice to have but it serves no other purpose except for boosting the ego LOL! So out it goes and I'll get to save me some quid!

Also, I have to decided to reduce reading books for review as I find that I am not enjoying my reads anymore. It felt more pressured and more stress having to complete it and review it. The joy of reading has becoming a burden to me and I actually hit a huge reading slump in 4th quarter of 2021!!! It was a coincidence that my Kobo Touch went cranky and couldn't power up at the same time! When I finally managed to boot it up, all my e-books were gone! Yes, it was 0 and I had to set it all up again. It is definitely a sign if you asked me.

As I hit my 50 this year, I have to slow down, relax and enjoy the view, so to speak. I will try to balance my hobbies by crafting more, gardening, colouring and reading evenly. We only live once so I want to enjoy my family time more too, living my live according to me and not dictated by others. I trust that you would understand as I'm sure you would want the same too or have already achieved the same. So wish me luck on my new journey and I hope you will still read my blog on the new platform. 

Thursday, 7 October 2021

[MPOV] Pets in Space 6: A Science Fiction Romance Anthology: Behr's Rebel (Marastin Dow Book 2) by S.E. Smith

My rating: 4/5 based on first story, Behr's Rebel (Marastin Dow Book 2) by S.E. Smith
Goodreads rating: 4.86/5
Published: October 5th, 2021
Edited by Carol Van Natta
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Short Stories

October's Book Challenge:
TBNT Book Challenge: An alternative timelines read OR written by a public figure

This anthology came just in time for this month's book challenge, an alternative timelines read. However, it arrived a little late hence I didn't have time to finish reading it. I've only managed to finish the first story to post this review. Thank you to the publisher for this e-ARC in return for my honest review and I will definitely finished reading it to provide a full review later on.

The main reason why I accepted this anthology is because of their charitable nature. 10% of the preorders and the first month's sales will be donated to Hero Dogs, a charity org that provides trained service dogs to disabled veterans and first-responders in the USA. Pets in Space 6 is written by pet lovers for pet lovers in general. I am so humbled to be a part of this good cause.

There are 11 short stories in this anthology, aside from the first one I've read by S.E. Smith, the remaining are:
1. Star Cruise: Time Loop (A Sectors Romance) by Veronica Scott
Eyn, a three-eyed lizard, has a multi-layered shell, but likes to spend time with his owner, Raelyn. Good thing, too, since she’s reliving the same terrible day. If she can’t get out of the time loop, everyone on the interstellar cruise ship she’s on will die, including the man she’s falling in love with.

2. The Cyborg with No Name (Cyborgs on Mars Series) by Honey Philips
A robot dog is Rose’s only companion in the Martian outback. He’s a quirky collection of mismatched parts, but he’s hers. Despite what her former employer thinks, the outcast scientist knows the robots she developed to help with the terraforming process are more than machines. Especially when a robot horse she created shows up at her doorstep and leads her to an injured cyborg ranger.

3. Escape from Nova Nine (A Central Galactic Concordance Novella) by Carol Van Natta
Griffins in space… They’re small, birdlike creatures that were genetically engineered to look like miniature griffins from mythology. Against all odds, they’re thriving in the harsh environment of a rogue asteroid mine. They could be the key to survival and escape for prisoners Julke and Zade.

4. Trade Secrets (The Department of Homeworld Security) by Cassandra Chandler
When is a cat more than a cat? When he’s a space kitten, of course. The kitten has already adopted alien Xan, who’s only trying to keep his friends out of trouble. Earth at large isn’t ready to learn that aliens exist. Then the kitten decides that human Gwen, who’s stumbled across their secrets, would be the perfect pet…, er, mate for Xan.

5. See How They Run (TriSystems: Smugglers Series) by JC Hay
Positive, Negative, and Monocle are three ordinary-looking lab mice who are inexplicably accustomed to low-gravity. When engineer Baker steals them, she discovers they’re more than they seem. She hopes so, because it could save the life of her coworker, who means so much more to Baker than she’s willing to admit.

6. Suri's Sure Thing (Kimura Sisters Series) by S.J. Pajonas
Finn is a gorgeous, goofy golden retriever with a heart the size of the galaxy. He is pair-bonded with workaholic Suri, who would rather be in space than deal with her complicated family life. Finn knows Suri would be happier if she’d only notice her best friend Eric, so they could stay together. Maybe a trip to space would help her see the light…

7. The Thunder Egg (Dryden Universe Novella) by Greta van der Rol
Neyru is a… well, no one really knows. She looks sort of like a tiny winged dinosaur, and she might be psychic. All vacationing professor Drew knows is she’s beautiful and clever, and growing fast. If only he can convince sexy freighter captain Afra to help him get the little alien foundling back where she belongs.

8. Worlds of Fire: Metamorphosis (Worlds of Fire Series) by Deborah A. Bailey
In the Worlds of Fire, people with magical abilities sometimes have familiars, animal companions they can talk to. Gargoyle shifter Jaydon has a gold-bodied, black-winged bird named Delphy. Student Asira has never met a familiar, and isn’t sure what to think when Jaydon says the only reason he agreed to teach her is because Delphy recommended her.

9. Stranded on Grzbt (Far Star Series) by Melisse Aires
Mimi and her companions are stuck in an alien spaceport, trying to find their way back home to Earth. Mimi befriends and feeds a tiny alien creature the size of a mouse, with three eyes, six paws, and a trunk. Her new pet returns the favor by helping her meet handsome alien Kyre, who might be their best chance for survival.

10. Escaping Korth (Before the Fall Series) by Kyndra Hatch
Agronomist Liana Walker is a casualty of the Human-Korth war. Held captive and interrogated as an enemy combatant, her only friend is Rainbow, an eight-legged spider-like creature with a crab-like shell and large, soft antennae. Plus twelve eyes that allow Rainbow to see the truth when Liana can’t. Such as, her interrogator is the same Korth male she grew up with, before the war separated them.
Behr's Rebel (Marastin Dow Book 2) by S.E. Smith
Chummy and Pi are cute and fluffy alien pets. They’re pretty sure they rescued Raia, the human woman they travel with, not the other way around. In any case, it’s going to take all three of them to rescue a Marastin Dow General who is slated for execution.
This short story consisted of 16 chapters on how a human was appointed by a few Marastin Dow rebels to save their general who will be executed in the next 3 days. After the rescue, they were to meet at a rendezvous point to handover the general. Sparks ignited between the human and the general slowly but surely with the human's pets intervention.
With the help of her two innovative pets, a human woman rescues an alien General and becomes part of the revolution he is leading.
I am surprised with the natural flow of the story even though it is sci-fi with many new terms and characters. Also this is book 2 of Marastin Dow but it can be read as a standalone and I am surprised I was not lost in space! I have always avoided reading sci-fi as I'm always confused in the end. However, this is well written with a difference. I have thoroughly enjoyed this first piece and definitely looking forward to the remaining stories with high anticipation.

The award-winning anthology Pets in Space 6 featuring 11 of today’s bestselling SFR authors is back for a limited time! Grab your copy today and support Hero-Dogs.org!

Bonus novella: Raia's Pets (everyone who buys Pets in Space 6 can claim a free never-released-before Marastin Dow novella, Raia's Pets)

Publisher: Pets in Space Books for Chavanch Press
Formats Available: ebook only
Price: $4.99


Friday, 24 September 2021

[MPOV] Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Tiffany's

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.48/5
Published: May 6th, 2005
Author: Marian Keyes
Genre: short stories
Marian Keyes spearheaded a new wave of contemporary women's fiction providing wickedly funny tales of twenty- and thirty-somethings living and loving on the edge. No stranger to the roadless commonly travelled herself, Marian has also written two collections of tales and observations from her own life. Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Tiffany's is a small but perfectly formed selection of these.
This is a compilation of short stories by Marian Keyes, in a way of ranting her actual misfortune or misadventure. Initially, I did find it relevant and humorous but eventually it became some sort of a bore and I've lost interest. She writes pretty well, that's a given, so I could actually finished reading it. Yes, I did persevered until the end just to complete it! However, too much rants in one book got on my nerves I guess. Hence the reason why I took a long time to finish this 56 pager 8 chapters book! 

Thursday, 16 September 2021

[MPOV] If Malaysia was Anime: Covidball Z #1, 2 & 3

My overall rating: 3/5
#1 Goodreads rating: 4.63
#2 Goodreads rating: 4.38
#3 Goodreads rating: 3.73
Published: year 2020
Author: Ernest Ng
Genre: comic, fiction, satirical

Thanks to Ai Jou for this wonderful birthday gift and I am able to read it for this month's challenge!
September's Book Challenge:
1. TBNT Book Challenge: A locally published kids' book OR a humorous read
The year is 2020 and we are under attack from the Covid Forces! It is time for us to fight back!

This comic book is a work of parody and satire. It tells the story of how we reacted during the 2020 pandemic and also some funny Malaysian incidents. Storytelling has been enhanced to be as ridiculous and as anime as possible.

We know it's a manga but the word anime sounds better.

Fully coloured!
High quality print!
Durable paper material!
Kick ass content!

Contains several chapters that was never uploaded online because the author thought it was too stupid to post up.
Firstly, I was taken by the well printed comic, good quality finished and strong colours that blew my mind! I have always seen the thin ones from the likes of Marvel or DC Comics which I wasn't keen on as it is easily torn. This one is way better and definitely a keeper! 

When I've picked this for this month's book challenge, I intended to read only the first book as I thought it would be thought provoking deep. It turns out it was a breeze reading it all! Yes, I've finished it all within a week!

It was entertaining, comedic and satirical at it's best! I can definitely relate to it and understood the jokes behind it. This author is way creative! It honestly turns out to be a good comic and I'm proud that it is Malaysian made.

If you are looking for something to perk you up from your reading slump or looking for something funny, you should give this comic a try.

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